Legislation concerning children, young people and families

Family leaves

Family leaves are regulated in the Employment Contracts Act. The Act contains provisions on the rights of parents to take leave for family reasons.

The right to receive a parental allowance is regulated in the Health Insurance Act. The Act contains provisions on maternity, special maternity, paternity and parental allowances. The Act also contains provisions on a home care allowance, which is paid to parents to compensate for any loss of earnings while caring for a sick child.

Children's day care

Early childhood education and care is part of the education and training services, and therefore it falls within the mandate of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Home care and private care allowances are regulated under the child home care and private care allowance act (1996). 

Young employees

Terms of employment, occupational safety and working hours for employees under 18 years of age are regulated under the Young Workers' Act and Decree. Read more

Family counselling and mediation

Municipalities are responsible for providing child guidance and family counselling. This is regulated under the Social Welfare Act. Under the Marriage Act, the municipality is obligated to make arrangements for mediation in family matters. The municipality may also outsource these services. Mediation is administered and overseen by the State Provincial Office. The Marriage Act is supervised by the Ministry of Justice.

Child welfare

The Child Welfare Act, which entered into force at the beginning of 2008, obligates the wellbeing counties to provide preventive child welfare services and, to the extent there is a need for them, child and family-specific child welfare services. The Act contains provisions on the duty to notify, investigation of the need for child welfare, procedures for taking into care and placing a child, and after-care.

Provisions on family care as a form of substitute care are contained in the Family Care Act.


Adoption is regulated under the Adoption Act and its attendant decree. International child welfare and adoption co-operation is also provided for in the Hague Adoption Convention, which was ratified in Finland by a decree.

Legal status of children

A child's right to have a father and the determination and verification of paternity are regulated under the Paternity Act. The Maternity Act applies to the determination and establishment of maternity and to the annulment of maternity.

The Act and Decree on Child Custody and Right of Access stipulate how custody of the child shall be arranged if the parents do not live together and how disputes are to be resolved. Provisions on decisions concerning child custody and rights of access are contained in a specific act and a decree. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for these. 

Child support

The Child Support Act obligates both parents to support their child to best of their abilities. The Act and its attendant decree regulate the actions to be taken should either parent fail to meet his or her support obligations or in cases where no agreement can be reached regarding child support.

If the party responsible for providing child support fails to pay this support, the child shall be paid a child maintenance allowance in accordance with the act on child maintenance allowance.

Maternity and child health clinic services, school and student health care, preventive oral health care for children and young people

Maternity and child health clinic services, school and student health care as well as preventive oral health care for children and young people should be systematic and equal in municipal health care.

Further information

Annika Juurikko, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Insurance and Social Security / SVO, Benefits Unit / ETU Telephone:0295163242   Email Address: